ERAM SISIK TRAINING AREA, KEMAMAN TERENGGANU, Malaysia --
Marines and Sailors with Landing Force Company arrived at the Eram Sisik training area in Kemaman Terengganu, Malaysia June 10 to conduct the third and final phase of Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) 2011.
The Marines participating in CARAT, a series of bilateral exercises between U.S. and Southeast Asian militaries, concluded training with Malaysian Army Rangers after training with their military hosts in Thailand and Indonesia.
“Malaysia was a no-kidding training environment that defined jungle warfare,” said Capt. Rudy Cazares, the company commander for Landing Force Company. “My men finally got an understanding of what jungle training is supposed to be; they understand the elements that may affect them.”
What differentiated training in Malaysia was that the Malaysian Rangers focused the majority of the training on jungle warfare.
“Malaysia has one of the best jungle warfare schools in the world,” said Col. Stephen Neary, the 4th Marine Regiment commanding officer. “The instruction for this training comes from there. This training is important because we are an expeditionary force, and just like the Marine’s hymn says; we fight in every clime and place.”
The Marines first received jungle warfare classes on topics that included guerilla operations, establishing patrol bases and conducting patrols.
“We hope Marines know more about the jungle environment and how to operate in it,” said Malaysian Cpl. Manair Anak Nuas, a machine gunner with 8th Platoon, Company C, 8th Royal Ranger Regiment, Malaysian Army Rangers. “This training is very basic but they can use it as a guide and then learn more about it later.”
After the classes were complete, two platoons from the company set out to establish their patrol bases and begin the intensive training that followed.
The nights were long, wet and hot. After digging a fighting hole and ensuring they had security, the Marines got to know a side of the jungle many had not yet experienced.
Inch-long ants and blood-sucking leeches were not only around every corner, they seemed to be under every rock, in every sleeping bag.
“Those darn leeches,” said Staff Sgt. Thomas Dang, the 2nd Platoon commander, Landing Force Company. “The insects [and] the leeches make you realize that you are in a no-joke jungle. Sleeping in fighting holes with all these bugs every night is a constant reminder of where you are and how important watching each other’s back is.”
After the base was set, the two platoons of Marines, along with the Malaysian Rangers, conducted several ambushes, assaults and patrols during the next few days.
“You guys did very well,” said Malaysian Maj. Farriz Bin Ahmad Rlawawi, the company commander of Company C, 8th Royal Ranger Regiment. “You seem like you have experience in this kind of place before. Hopefully you can take some of the techniques we showed you, adapt them, and make them your own.”
After the Marines completed their training and left the holes they called home for the past two days, they returned to the base camp and exchanged with the Malaysians some tactics for Military Operations on Urban Terrain.
“The techniques [the Marines] taught us for MOUT are very good,” said Rlawawi. “We lack experience in that area and are very happy to learn the basics.”
After the final training was complete, the two militaries held a closing ceremony in which the leadership exchanged gifts and thanked each other for the quality training they just completed.
The leaders weren’t the only ones exchanging gifts, however. The Rangers and Marines traded hats, patches and a particularly hot commodity – knives. After the bartering, the Marines and Rangers went their separate ways, both walking away with newfound friendship and a greater appreciation for each other.
Landing Force Company is primarily composed of reserve Marines from 2nd Battalion, 23rd Marine Regiment, and 4th Assault Amphibian Battalion, 4th Marine Division, with individual augments from III Marine Expeditionary Force.